Mitt Romney‘s campaign uploaded an ad to YouTube mocking President Obama‘s Al Green singing this week and it promptly got pulled for copyright infringement. Now, before you cry foul and ask, “Well, why didn’t YouTube take down Obama’s ad with Romney singing America the Beautiful?”, the latter song is in the public domain. But this isn’t the first time a politician has been accused of infringing copyright. Over the past few years, from songs at campaign rallies to material used in campaign ads, politicians seem to be just as guilty of copyright infringement as the rest of us.
So we’ve compiled a quick list of politicians accused of copyright infringement. There are plenty of other examples out there, but here’s five big ones.
There's no cross domain hackery or tracking voodoo, it's just some sweet jQuery animations.
Please, think of the animations.
In the meantime, enjoy the html version below. I guess. If that's your thing.
Eye Of The Gingrich
Newt Gingrich got in trouble during the Republican primary race early this year for using Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" at campaign events. Group member Dave Bickler fired back by singing lines from Gingrich's book Nation Like No Other to the tune of the song on The Colbert Report in February.
Rush to Judgment
Canadian rock band
Rush are fans of Ayn Rand, but not so much of Rand Paul, because when the Kentucky senator ran for office in 2010, the group's attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to Paul's campaign telling him to stop using the band's music during campaign stops. He explained at the time, "This is not a political issue -- this is a copyright issue... We would do this no matter who it is." For what it's worth, the Paul campaign argued that the claim was a "non-issue." Now, the Pauls recently released an internet manifesto standing up for copyright and private property rights, so it's unclear exactly where Paul and his father stand copyright infringement.
And Now For Something Completely Different
When New Jersey governor
Chris Christie was running for office in 2009, he released an ad bashing incumbent Jon Corzine for repeating his same failed policies or something, he used a clip from Monty Python's classic déjà vu sketch without first getting permission from the troupe. The comedians objected in the strongest possible terms to Christie using their clip and considered legal action, but it's possible they may have just settled for slapping him repeatedly with a fish.
Former Florida governor
Charlie Crist unsuccessfully tried to run for the Senate seat currently held by Marco Rubio in the 2010 campaign. In one of his campaign ads, Crist used the Talking Heads song "Road to Nowhere". Now, leaving aside the fact that Crist looks rather a lot like David Byrne, it took the former governor several months before he publicly apologized to Byrne for using the song without permission.
This example isn't as lighthearted at the others, quite frankly. It has a more sinister and hypocritical turn to it, because at the height of the national debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act earlier this year, several politicians in support of the legislation were exposed as copyright infringers themselves.
Lamar Smith, who introduced SOPA in the House, featured a stock background image on his official website that, it turns out, was copyrighted and he never gave credit to the creators. Other politicians were also exposed for doing the same exact thing.
Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com